How and when was your interest in music sparked?
My dad has always played guitar and when I was three years old I got a little plastic guitar for my Birthday. I used to try and follow the rhythm and strum along with dad. My parents realized how much I loved it and I got my first nylon-stringed when I was five and haven’t looked back since.
Was playing guitar always your first and only choice or did it start with something else?
It was my first choice but not my only choice. For my tenth birthday, my parents bought me a second hand Pearl kit and I learnt to jam away on it. I’d have other friends over who played music and we used to play for hours. I’ve always loved drums but stuck with guitar because I was better at it.
Out of everything that comes with being in a band – writing, recording, jamming, touring, traveling (the list goes on)…what is your favorite part?
I’d have to say writing is by far my most favorite part. There’s nothing better than seeing a song from its early stages in your bedroom to playing it live and having people singing along. I also find writing music really therapeutic because you’re not thinking about anything else that’s going on, it also super rewarding when you sit back and listen to what you have created, most times haha.
What does your personal writing spot or home studio look like in terms of gear?
I have a MacBook with plenty of plug-ins, a little Focusrite interface, a few guitars, studio monitors, two screens and I’ve recently started building a little Eurorack modular system. That’s about all I need really, and when we’re on tour I’m just using my computer and one guitar.
On that note, what’s your process like when composing for an upcoming record? Do you set aside dedicated “on the job” time to write or does it happen when it happens?
I’ve never liked the ideas of having boundaries whether it be musically or time restrictions. I find that kind of thing can really restrict the creativity at times. Some days I might not think I’m going to write much at all and end up almost finishing a song. Some days you think you’ll get lots done and after hours come up with nothing that you like at all. I’ve learnt over the years that I work best when I don’t have any boundaries to work within because it ends up making things sound stale otherwise.
You are an avid Superior Drummer 3 user. How do you use the program in your work and how does it help your creative process?
I started off using Superior Drummer 3 a long time ago now and would always load up a kit and punch all of the MIDI in myself to have something to jam over, but more recently I’ve really been loving the MIDI packs. It’s so awesome to just pull in an epic beat and start jamming over it straight away. Once the riff is finalized, I’ll go in and change things up and then send it through to our drummer to have a play around with. We recently told him he had to get a laptop and Superior Drummer 3 so he could play around with beats on tour and he’s been loving it.
What other Toontrack products do you use?
I’ve actually always really loved the sounds in the Electronic EZX kit. I enjoy writing a lot of electronic music and I find those sounds always seem to fit in really well with what I’m doing. I also really like the EZkeys Grand Piano. It sounds so nice and a lot of the time we’ll use it to come up with vocal melodies.
If you weren’t a musician, what do you think you’d do for a career?
I’d like to think I’d be a golfer…but I’m not good enough, haha. We all actually still have jobs that we work five days a week when we’re at home, and I manage a cocktail bar. I love making classic cocktails and learning about how flavors work together through trial and error and also learning about the business side of things. Similar to writing music in a way.
Best studio moment ever?
When we were writing for Kaliyuga we were setup in the studio doing some vocals and there was a heavy part that we wanted Jake to scream over but he wasn’t there so Kyle had a go at it. The first take he did was spot on and it sounded sooo gnarly. Eaven and I couldn’t believe it, we couldn’t stop laughing. We almost kept the take right up until the last minute of releasing the album but then decided to get Jake’s step dad to do it. He used to sing in a hardcore band back in the day which is pretty cool. The song is Iron Dice.
…and worst stage moment ever?
Back in 2014 we were playing Soundwave in Melbourne. I was jus noodling around on stage and all off a sudden it felt like someone hit my leg with a massive steel bar. I sat down and finished the set, turns out I tore something in my calf and I was on crutches for the last few shows. It sucked, haha.
FIVE QUICK QUESTIONS.
If you could only keep/play one guitar moving forward…which one in your collection would you pick and why?
My ESP EII Eclipse. Love that thing.
You could only bring one record to listen to during a massively long tour, which one would it be and why?
Coldplay “A Rush of Blood to the Head”
Big festival or club show?
Club show for sure.
Name one piece of gear you can’t live without in your studio (and it can’t be the guitar or the computer!).
My Eurorack setup.
Your all-time top five list of albums!
London Grammar “If You Wait”
Coldplay “A Rush of Blood to the Head”
As I Lay Dying “Shadows Are Security”
Bury Your Dead “Beauty and the Breakdown”
Bon Iver “Bon Iver”